Annuals are the perfect way to spice up your garden every year. While the thought of digging them up every year is dreadful, we like to think of it as a fresh start to redesign your garden year after year. With so many options to choose from, you can add a little spark to your garden.
Ageratum plants, with fluffy blue flowers, add the desirable blue color to your garden. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Keep plants well-watered and weeded once transplanted. Although they can tolerate dry conditions, young plants need moist soil to get established. Grows 6-8 inches tall and wide.
Sweet alyssum, with its dainty, fragrant flowers, is often used in containers and hanging baskets to spill over the edges, creating a soft, frothy look. It's also a great edging plant because of its tidy, compact habit. Grows 4-10 inches tall. Plant in full sun to partial shade.
Begonias are available in many different varieties, including Rex, wax, tuberous and cane-stemmed types. Begonias prefer high humidity, but not wet soil conditions. Let the top inch of the soil dry out before watering the plants. Depending on variety, plant in full sun to full shade. If the weather is hot and dry, water the area under the begonias so the evaporating moisture increases the humidity around the begonias.
Celosia are noted for their brilliant "rooster comb" plumes. Celosia makes a very showy, unusual display in borders and as edging. Celosia plants like full sun. Plant in rich soil with lots of compost to produce big, brilliant plumes. Keep soil moist, but not wet, especially during dry periods.
Coleus has long been considered a shade plant but the best leaf color is achieved with morning sun and some degree of afternoon shade. Many varieties do well in both shade and part-sun. Daily or twice-daily watering may be necessary during very hot or windy weather, especially as the Coleus mature and develop a large leaf canopy. Coleus that have wilted will usually respond quickly when watered.
Most dianthus have pink, red, or white flowers with notched petals. They should receive at least 4-5 hours of full sun each day. Dianthus plants require good air circulation around the stems at all times and must be kept as free from lingering moisture as possible. Avoid over-watering Dianthus because it may tend to turn their foliage yellow.
The foliage is silvery-gray to nearly white and has a soft, felt-like texture. Dusty Miller should be grown in full sun, but they will tolerate light shade or partial shade in the heat of the day. Plant them in well drained garden soil and only water moderately until they have settled in.
On the whole, geraniums are full-sun plants. They crave sunshine and do well in locations where they receive at least six hours of sun. These plants need to be grown in well-draining potting soil as well. Plant in moist, well-draining soil similar to that of indoor potting soil with equal amounts of soil, peat and perlite.
Dark green leaves splattered with red, pink or white make Polka Dot Plant an unusual and attractive house plant or annual planting. Plant in partial shade. Keep the soil lightly moist, but take care not to overwater. Too-dry soil will cause leaves to wilt and drop off.
Impatiens are bright and cheerful annuals that can light up any dark and shady part of your yard. Impatiens flower best when protected from the heat and intensity of direct sun. Plant them in partially shaded beds, such as those that receive bright, filtered light beneath trees. Soil that remains evenly moist will produce the healthiest and most productive impatiens.
Colorful and easygoing annuals, marigolds provide a wealth of color to the garden, blooming reliably from early summer to the first frost in autumn. Marigolds should only be grown in full sun. They are not fussy when it comes to the soil, as long as it is well-drained.
Pansies quickly fill a garden or container with dense foliage and brightly colored bloom. Pansies grow best during the spring or fall or as a winter flower in mild climates. Water pansies early in the day so the foliage dries before evening. Dry foliage is less prone to fungal problems.
Petunias are versatile annuals, providing a bounty of bright color from early summer until fall. Some are upright growers and some are trailing growers. Once Petunias become well established, they should only be watered when the soil becomes dry.
Petunias are versatile annuals, providing a bounty of bright color from early summer until fall. Double flowering petunias have a mounding habit. Once Petunia plants become well established, they should only be watered when the soil becomes dry.
A truly beautiful low growing ground cover type plant is called the portulaca, or sometimes known as the sun rose or moss rose. Portulaca flowers tolerate many kinds of soil but prefer sandy, well-drained soil and love the full sunlight. These plants are excellent for high heat and drought tolerance.
Blooms of most salvia plants are long lasting and attract butterflies and pollinators, which are always good for the garden. You can plant salvia in average soil in a sunny to partly shady location for most varieties. Most varieties prefer to dry out between waterings to ½ an inch deep.
Snapdragons are available in most colors except blue and co-ordinate or contrast with other early spring bloomers. Plant snapdragons in a full sun location with well draining soil. Water near the crown of the plant and avoid overhead watering to keep your snapdragon healthy.
An excellent selection if you have little time to tend your garden. Vinca flower provides instant color wherever it grows. Water the vinca only when the surrounding soil becomes completely dry. Vinca minor grows best in shady, well-drained soil, but once established, it tolerates a wide range of sites.
Violas are primarily cool season bloomers. Violas grow best in rich, moist, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Use a slow-release fertilizer into the soil if planting in a container. Water regularly, but allow to dry out between watering. Violas like full sun, but not the intense heat of mid summer.
The elephant ear plant provides a bold tropical effect in nearly any landscape setting. These plants come in a variety of colors and sizes. Most of these plants prefer rich, moist soil and can be grown in full sun, but they generally prefer partial shade. They prefer need rich soil that is moist (not saturated) but well-drained.